Once during a graduate class we got onto the topic of women having equal rights and opportunities as men. The professor said something to the affect that "if you believe they should, then you're a feminist". She then turned to all the men in the class and suggested that we should be feminists too. She needn't have. I already knew from her description that I clearly considered myself one. Last year after Justice Souter announced his retirement from the Supreme Court, USA Today interviewed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. At the time, Justice O'Conner had long retired leaving Ginsburg alone as the only woman on the court. In suggesting that the court needed another woman, I haven't forgotten what she said: "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. I don't say (the split) should be 50-50. It could be 60% men, 40% women, or the other way around. It shouldn't be that women are the exception." "Women belong in all places where decisions are being made". This rang true with me. I believe that. And it seems our current president did too. There are now three women on the court, along with six men. There seems to be somewhat of a disconnect, however, when I juxtapose this conviction with the current organization of the Church. Positive changes are already being made, as evidenced by the recent Worldwide Leadership Training broadcast. Women are being given an expanded role, at least on the level of the ward council--a positive change for sure. (President Julie B. Beck of the Relief Society did a fantastic job during that broadcast, by the way). But I can't help but further wonder about a woman's place in the Church. Just days ago the newlds.orgwas unveiled and I was immediately impressed with the improvement and even spent some time perusing the site. A prominent article featured on the homepage caught my eye: "Take Oath and Covenant Seriously, Elder L. Tom Perry Says". In the article and accompanying video, Elder Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve spoke of the priesthood as the government of God: “It establishes policy, procedure, and has the authority to perform the sacred ordinances of our Father in Heaven’s kingdom. It has always existed and will always exist….The priesthood gives mankind the power to act as agents for the Lord on earth in performing His sacred ordinances, leading His Church.” Justice Ginsburg’s words came to mind. “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” I thought to myself that women, too, ought to be involved in setting policy and procedure--however high or low. My feminist instinct kicked in further, and I thought: Is there any good reason why it must only be men who are given power to act as agents for the Lord in performing ordinances and leading the Church? I, for one, do not believe so.
"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it."